Memorial Tournament honors former hockey players, Kota and Reis
The tournament started off just like every tournament does; with a face off, but the first face off came with a different type of emotion than usual. It was emotions as a result of honoring two former hockey players of the Genesee Amatuer Hockey Association that had their lives ended at young ages. GAHA hosted the Tim Reis/ Matt Kota (TRMK) Memorial Hockey Tournament to remember these players and they started things off with a ceremonial puck drop in their honor.
The center of the ice was filled with people that were close to the two former players. Lining up for Matt Kota were his parents, Jason and Nancy and his siblings, Sean, Tyler and Sara. Matthew passed during September 2008 at the age of 17 from complications brain surgery related to a large AVM (arterio-venous Brain malformation, which is a condition that happens to only 0.01% of the population. Long time friend and former coach, Tom Cervone led the line for Tim Reis that included former teamates that he had played with in the past. Tim had his life taken in a house fire in Byron, along with his mother and two sisters in May 2008. Reis was killed while trying to help his family escape.
While they lined up, in his honor, GAHA president Gerry Wolcott read a passage to remember the two young men.
For Tim he read "Through the dedication of individuals in the organization, Tim was able to play a game he truly enjoyed. Tim was a giver when you got to know him and nowhere was that more evident than on the ice. He always tried his best for his team and when losses came he just accepted them and tried harder. Even in Tim’s last moments, he was giving he was trying to help his Mom and sisters escape the fire that ultimately claimed them all. Every time a player puts on a Ramparts jersey we remember how Tim showed us what being a team player was all about , his spirit is still with us and his teammates every time they take the ice."
He continued for Matthew and stated "Matt was always helping his team anyway he could and even with all his other interest like cross country and advanced courses in school he even took the time to help with his sister and brother’s teams any way he could. On the night before he was to leave for surgery he spent it working with his youth group in their outreach ministries to the needy. After God decided he needed Matt in heaven matt even donated what he no longer would need from his physical body so that at least 7 other families could have a better life or life at all. Matt’s spirit shine brightly with us still and he taught us what a difference one person can make if they cared about others first."
After a moment of silence from the arena, he closed in asking that we all "enjoy life like they did".